USA Rugby Falcons Finish 4th at Punta del Este 7s

January 8, 2017

USA Rugby Falcons Finish 4th at Punta del Este 7s


Photo: USA Rugby Falcons courtesy Matt Hughston

Doug Coil

The 2017 Punta del Este Sevens continued on Saturday January 7 with the quarterfinals to cup finals on day two at Punte del Este, Uruguay.  In the international competition, Fiji won Pool A, followed by Chile, Colombia and Canada. In Pool B, in a battle of undefeated teams, Argentina took first over the USA Falcons, while Uruguay and Brazil completed the bracket. The teams will play teams in the opposite pool in the quarterfinals. The winners will advance to the semi-finals and final.

All Fixtures are listed on the Punta del Este 7s web page.

After the Punta del Este 7s, the team will then travel to Viña del Mar, Chile for the Seven Viña on January 14-15. There the Falcons will compete in pool play Jan. 14 against Argentina at 12:20pm ET, Fiji at 3pm ET and against rivals Canada at 6:10pm ET. Play will then conclude Jan. 15. In the South American pool are Chile, Uruguay, Colombia and Brazil.

Points were gained at the Punta del Este for the South American bracket teams and upon the conclusion of the Seven Viña, the two highest point scorers from among Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay will compete in Las Vegas, Vancouver and the Hong Kong Sevens.

The Punta del Este 7s also had a club bracket with the leading club teams from Uruguay and Argentina represented. Clubs from Uruguay are the Old Boys, Old Christians, Carrasco Polo and Montevideo Cricket. Clubs from Argentina are the UER 7, Germany, La Tablada, Liceo Naval and Córdoba Athletic. Also competing is the select side Moby Dick.

For a preview of the tournament and the squads read USA Falcons Travel to Punta del Este Sevens & Seven Viña.”

USA Falcons Recap Day One

Day Two

International Quarterfinals

Chile jumped out to a 14-0 lead with tries by Franco Velarde and Marcelo Torrealba. Early in the second half, Lucas Durán narrowed the gap with a try and conversion. Chile and Uruguay then traded tries with the final 19-12 to Chile.

Argentina then dispatched Canada 26-5. Argentina will meet Chile in the cup semi-finals, while Canada will play Uruguay in the consolation semi-finals.

The USA Falcons took an early 7-0 lead before Colombia struck back to narrow the score to 7-5. The Falcons thwarted another Colombia try attempt and then added another of their own for a 14-5 lead at halftime. Colombia added a second half try, but the Falcons held on to win 14-12.

Fiji took an early 7-0 lead against Brazil and the defense held for both sides until halftime. The Barbarians offense then took over in the second half scoring four tries. With the 31-0 win over Brazil, Fiji will play the USA Falcons in the other cup semi-final. Brazil will play Colombia in the other consolation semi-final.

Consolation Semi-finals

Canada had an early try against host Uruguay and at halftime it was 7-0. During the second half, Uruguay’s Gabriel Puig try narrowed the lead to 7-5 before a try by Ignacio García for a 10-7 lead. Quickly, the Maple Leafs answered back with a try to reclaim the lead 14-10. In this seesaw half, an Ignacio Inchausti try gained the win for the Teros 17-14.

Colombia and Brazil each gained first half tries and the match was 5 all at halftime. Colombia added two converted tries to claim the win 19-5. Colombia will play Uruguay for 5th place, while Brazil and Canada will play for 7th.

Cup Semi-finals

Argentina scored three first half tries for a 19-0 lead over Chile. They then added two more to win 29-0 and with that, a berth in the Cup Final.

Fiji then joined Argentina in the Cup Final with a dominant 43-0 win over the USA Falcons. The final will feature the two undefeated teams in the tournament, while the Falcons will play Chile for third place.

7th Place

The 7th place match between Canada and Brazil is a match where both teams are looking to gain their first win of the tournament.

The Canada Maple Leafs had a fast start out of the blocks with a converted try for a 7-0 lead over Brazil. Brazil answered back with a try of their own to knot the score at 7 all. The teams then traded tries with Canada adding a conversion for a 14-12 win.

5th Place

Colombia jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but Uruguay answered right back with a try by Santiago Civetta to tie the match at 5 all. Then Ignacio Inchausti added another try as the Teros took a 12-5 lead at halftime.

Uruguay continued the first half momentum with a try by Ignacio García to increase their lead to 19-5. The captain, Gabriel Puig, then sealed the victory with a try for a 24-5 win over Colombia to gain 5th place.

Both teams played well during the tournament and are improving rapidly. This competition and the Seven Viña that follows will help in the players development. Uruguay also finds themselves in second place to Chile in the Sudamerica Rugby points race for to qualify for the Las Vegas, Vancouver and Hong Kong Sevens.

3rd Place

It took three minutes before Chile drew first blood from a try by captain Felipe Brangier. The try was converted and the Condores had a 7-0 lead. Three minutes later, a determined USA Falcon team answered back evading a tackle for a converted try to level the match 7 all prior to halftime.

Chile reclaimed the lead with a try by Marcelo Torrealba that was converted. Martín Verschae quickly followed with another try from the restart to increase the lead to 19-7. That is the way the match would end.

Restarts were an issue in the last match against Fiji. Chile gained the momentum in the second half for the win and it is time for the Falcons to focus on the Seven Viña.

The Falcons will be in the international bracket at the Seven Viña with Punta del Este Cup finalists Argentina, Fiji along with rivals Canada.

Cup Final

During the Punta del Este 7s, both Argentina and Fiji won their pools and came into the Gold medal final undefeated.

Fiji jumped out to a 14-0 lead during the first half until Argentina answered with two tries, one in which was converted. The last try, was on the final play before halftime. At the break Fiji held a slim 14-12 lead.

In the second half Fiji increased their lead with a third try for a 21-12 lead. Argentina did not let up and added two tries of their own with a minute to play to win 22-21. What a final!

USA Rugby Falcons Squad

The USA Falcons, the developmental USA sevens side, is competing in both the Punta del Este 7s in Uruguay and the Seven Viña in Viña del Mar, Chile. The Falcons are captained by JP Eloff who has been capped for the Eagles XV and includes Eagles 7s capped players Anthony Welmers and Aladdin Schirmer.

The squad has many experienced players, as Anthony Welmers, Aladdin Schirmer, Tua Laei, Joey Sok and Alex Faison-Donahue each played on the Falcons tour to South America last year. Welmers played last year for Davenport University and now plays for the Grand Rapids Gazelles. Aladdin Schirmer is playing for the Seattle Saracens. Tua Laei is part of the Eagles pool. Joey Sok was in contention for a position with Team USA at the olympics and Alex Faison-Donahue excelled at Kutztown University. Cody Jerabek, who now plays for the Laramie Lumberjacks and had a stint in Pro Rugby after graduating at Wyoming, joined Schirmer and Laei in Australia this past summer on the Collegiate All-Americans tour.

Other members of the squad include Matt Hughston who played for PRO Rugby’s Ohio Aviators, Charlotte Rugby Club and has played for Tiger Rugby. Chris Mattina is a University of Delaware graduate who plays for the New York Athletic Club and played on the national stage in the Elite City 7s in 2015. Mattina also was named MVP for the Northeast Academy at the New York Sevens a month ago. Alex Elkins, joins Joey Sok from the Columbus Rugby Club (Scioto Valley). Elkins also played with Matt Hughston and JP Eloff on the Ohio Aviators and was a force on the wing. Walt Elder plays for the Kansas City Blues and his performance at the USA Rugby Club Nationals drew the selectors attention. He also was a force at the Serevi Rugbytown 7s while playing for the Denver 7s. Finally there is Havea Unufe, the younger brother of the Eagles’ Maka Unufe, who has been training at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.

Paul Holmes is the head coach of the Falcons. He was an assistant coach for the Ohio Aviators, the head coach of the Classic Eagles tour to Bermuda and is well known for his coaching with Tiger Rugby.

Punta del Este 7s Pools
Group A: Fiji, Canada, Chile, Colombia
Group B: Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, USA
Group C: Germany Santa Fé, La Tablada, OCC
Group D: Entre Ríos, Old Boys, Trébol
Group E: Córdoba Athletic, La Plata, CPC
Group F: Moby Dick Liceo Naval, Montevideo Cricket

Punte del Este 7’s Friday January 6 Schedule (Time local, ET is 2 hours prior)
• 16:00 Germany v La Tablada 5-31
• 16:20 OBC v Trébol 12-33
• 16:40 CPC v La Plata 12-17
• 17:00 Montevideo Cricket v Liceo Naval 0-21
• 17:20 Canada v Chile 17-19
• 17:40 Colombia v Fiji 0-33
• 18:00 Uruguay v USA Falcons 5-26
• 18:20 Argentina v Brazil 24-7
• 18:40 Germany Santa Fé v OCC 10-17
• 19:00 Entre Ríos 7 v Trébol 10-14
• 19:20 Córdoba Athletic v CPC 26-5
• 19:40 Moby Dick v Montevideo Cricket 43-7
• 20:00 Colombia v Canada 19-12
• 20:20 Fiji v Chile 24-7
• 20:40 Brazil v USA Falcons 10-17
• 21:00 Argentina v Uruguay 31-7
• 21:20 La Tablada v OCC Santa Fé 29-7
• 21:40 OBC v Entre Ríos  5-10
• 22:00 Córdoba Athletic v La Plata 12-5
• 22:20 Moby Dick v Liceo Naval 19-10
• 22:40 Chile v Colombia 28-5
• 23:00 Uruguay v Brazil 26-7
• 23:20 Fiji v Canada 50-5
• 23:40 Argentina v USA Falcons 38-0

Punta del Este 7’s Saturday January 7 Schedule (Time local, ET is 2 hours prior)

  • 14:50pm Liceo Naval v Montevideo Cricket Club 24-7
  • 15:10pm Entre Ríos v OBC 24-5
  • 15:30pm La Plata v Carrasco Polo 10-26
  • 15:50pm OCC v GER 29-5


  • 16:10pm Liceo Naval v Trébol 0-12
  • 16:30pm Entre Ríos v Córdoba Athletic 7-24
  • 16:50pm Carrasco Polo v Moby Dick 26-21
  • 17:10pm OCC v La Tablada 12-19
  • 17:30pm Chile v Uruguay 19-12
  • 17:50pm Argentina v Canada Maple Leafs 26-5
  • 18:10pm USA Falcons v Colombia 14-12
  • 18:30pm Fiji v Brazil 31-0


  • 18:50pm Trébol v Córdoba Athletic 7-31
  • 19:10pm Carrasco Polo v La Tablada 10-14
  • 19:30pm Uruguay v Canada Maple Leafs 17-14
  • 19:50pm Colombia v Brazil 19-5
  • 20:10pm Chile v Argentina 0-29
  • 20:30pm USA Falcons v Fiji 0-43


  • 20:50pm Club 3rd – Trébol v Carrasco Polo 22-10
  • 21:10pm Int’l Consolation 7th Place Canada v Brazil 14-12
  • 21:30pm Int’l Consolation Final 5th Place Uruguay v Colombia 24-5
  • 21:50pm Club Final – Córdoba Athletic v La Tablada 28-7
  • 22:10pm Cup 3rd Place – Chile v USA Falcons 19-7
  • 22:30pm Cup Final- Argentina v Fiji 22-21

International Bracket Squads

Pool A

Fiji BaaBaas: 1. Seru Cavuilati 2. Mesulame Kunavula 3. Levani Kurumudu 4. Meli Rusa 5. Semisi Matawalu 6. Amenoni Nasilasila 7. Kalione Nasoko 8. Sevuloni Naturudregadrega (Sevuloni Tawake) 9. Timoci Sinate 10. Rusiate Tadulala 11. Alivereti Veitokani 12. Nacanieli Lalalaba

Canada Maples Leafs: Jake Thiel, Josiah Morra, Kevin Vertkas, Riley DiNardo, Aaron McLelland, Aidan McMullan, Kainoa Lloyd, Brett Johnson, Aaron Hersant, Crosby Stewart, Andrew Battaglia, Kyle Lagasco + Head Coach Lee Douglas, Ass’t Coach Andrew Hall, Athletic Therapist Nicole Allen

Chile Condores: 1 Franco Velarde 2 Ignacio Silva Aninat 3 Bernardo Moltedo 4 Felipe Brangier 5 MartÍn Verschae 6 Nicholás Herreros 7 Marcelo Torrealba 8 Benjamín Devidts 9 Francisco Urroz 10 Lucas Westcott 11 Francisco Metuaze 12 Julio Blanc

Colombia Los Tucanes: Alejandro Vanegas Rodríguez, Sebastián Mejia, Andrés Felipe Alvarez Echeverri, Juan José Zapata Congote, Jhoan Sebastian Zurique Borja, Jhon Arley Urrutia Robledo, Juan Gabriel Dávila Metaute, Daniel Lopez Montoya, José Ricardo Ramirez Talero, Cristian Camilo Benítez, José Manuel Diosa Gómez, Brayan Campiño

Pool B

Argentina Los Pumas: Renzo Barbier (San Luis), José Barros Sosa (Tucumán Lawn Tennis), Lautaro Bazán (Córdoba Athletic), Lucas Belloto (Huirapuca), Felipe Del Mestre (Pucará), Juan Delguy (Pucará), Matías Ferro (Tucumán Lawn Tennis), Luciano González (La Tablada), Nicolas Menéndez (Lomas Athletic), Matías Osadczuk (SITAS), Mauro Perotti (CASI), Joaquín Riera (Los Tarcos)

Brazil Tupis: Ariel Da Silva Rodrigues (Oldbury)- Bruno Garcia Da Silva (Oldbury)- Daniel Lima da Silva (White River)- Felipe Gomes Rosa (São José Dos Campos)- Laurent Johann Jose Bourda-Couhet (Girl Scouts)- Lucas Drudi Romeo (Oldbury)- Matthew Star Miller Tavares (Runcorn)- Matheus Augusto De Souza Claudio (Oldbury)- Matheus Cruz Vergueiro and Silva (Oldbury)- Matheus Da Cruz Daniel (Oldbury)- Robert Aguinaldo Tenorio Da Silva Santos (Pasteur)- Ronaldo Da Silva Santos (Pasteur)

Uruguay Los Teros: 1 Gabriel Puig 2 Guillermo Strauch 3 Mateo Tortorella 4 Santiago Civetta 5 Federico Cibils 6 Sebastian Janssen 7 Lucas Duran 8 Ian Schmidt 9 Ignacio Inchausti 10 Ignacio García 11 Francesco Berchesi 12 Martín Fitipaldo + Head Coach Francisco Bulanti

USA Falcons: Walter Elder, Alex Elkins, JP Eloff (captain), Alex Faison-Donahoe, Matt Hughston, Cody Jerabek, Tua Laei, Chris Mattina, Aladdin Schirmer, Joey Sok, Keaweamahi “Havea” Unufe, Anthony Welmers + Head Coach Paul Holmes, Athletic Trainer Kevin Ng

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